Aboriginal education in NSW public schools

Strategies to achieve outcomes for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students P-12 and increase knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal histories and culture.

Key directions for Aboriginal education

Important information to support your school in planning to meet the identified needs of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students.

Walking Together, Working Together, the NSW Department of Education and NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. Partnership Agreement 2020 – 2030.

The Partnership Agreement is based on a genuine and practical approach to working together to improve outcomes for Aboriginal learners by ensuring that they have access to an education and training system that values their cultural heritage and identity, and supports their learning and career development through quality teaching practices, relevant policies and strategies and inclusive curriculum and training programs.

The focus areas are:

  1. The educational outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people will be as good as or better than those of the general student population of NSW.
  2. On completion of school, Aboriginal young people will confidently express and demonstrate their knowledge of the cultures of their own Peoples as well as their achievement of western education.

You can download the Partnership Agreement and also find your local AECG contact representatives.

All schools are required to incorporate excellence and improvement measures for all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students in the school's Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) and detail the steps you will take to improve learning outcomes.

For further information on excellence for all Aboriginal students visit School Excellence in Action.

For information about the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, you can visit their website.

English as an Additional Language/Dialect

The Capability Framework: Teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander EAL/D learners is a cross-jurisdictional initiative between the;

  • NSW Department of Education
  • Northern Territory Government
  • The Department of Education (Western Australia) and the Queensland Government

It was developed to increase the capacity of teachers in rural, remote and metropolitan areas to better meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander EAL/D learners. The Framework is aligned with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and can be used by teachers and school leaders to;

  • Inform practice, self-assess their capabilities and to inform professional learning goals
  • to determine staff professional learning needs in the area of teaching Aboriginal EAL/D learners
  • support teachers in the accreditation process through the PDP process

It is highly recommended that teachers familiarise themselves with The Capability Framework.

Aboriginal educational contexts: Aboriginal English

Deadly Dialects builds the capacity of P-2 staff in the quality teaching and learning of Aboriginal learners in areas of additional language and literacy.

For further information on Aboriginal English visit Deadly Dialects professional learning.

Developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

A Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a formal statement of commitment to reconciliation. A school of early learning centre can develop a RAP using the Narragunnawali platform.

For more information on developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for your school, visit the Reconciliation Action Plan page.

Instructional Leaders: Aboriginal Education (Primary)

This initiative developed in 2020 aims to improve Aboriginal student outcomes, engagement and attendance with a focus on wellbeing. The program will build teacher capacity to engage Aboriginal students in learning while enhancing connections to the local community.

It is a key responsibility of this role to provide staff with focused and tailored professional learning along with strengthening school leadership and the cultural safety of the school.

There are currently seven funded Instructional Leaders – Aboriginal Education (Primary):

Aboriginal Learning and Engagement Centres

The Aboriginal Learning and Engagement Centre (AL&EC) initiative was implemented in 2020 to increase the proportion of Aboriginal students attaining their HSC whilst maintaining cultural identity.

Through the provision of wellbeing, academic and cultural support the AL&ECs aim to enhance outcomes for secondary Aboriginal students, with a focus to improve student engagement, attendance, retention, HSC attainment and support for students at key transition points to progress.

Statewide Staffroom

Join our friendly and supportive curriculum specialists in a Statewide Staffroom set up in Microsoft Teams for expert advice, resources and professional learning.

The Aboriginal Education Statewide Staffroom is a safe and welcoming space available to all school and Education Support staff to build their confidence and knowledge of Aboriginal peoples, histories, cultures, topics, and resources.

Your membership request will be granted within 24 hours. You are required to log in to your Microsoft account using your department email.

NSW AECG Inc. Programs

Pirru Thangkuray

Pirru Thangkuray is a cultural engagement and goal setting program delivered by NSW Aboriginal Consultative Group Inc. supporting Aboriginal students across 21 NSW Public school sites. This cultural goal setting program aims to support Aboriginal students and improve educational outcomes for students in Years 9-12, through the delivery of Aboriginal perspectives and authentic cultural content that inspires students to fulfil their goals and aspirations.

There are 6 Elements within the program:

  1. Goal setting
  2. Personal development
  3. Academic Goals
  4. Family
  5. Culture &
  6. Identity and Belonging.

Ngaarr Dhuwi Girls Academy

Ngaarr Dhuwi Girls Academy Program aims to provide a mentoring program to support female Aboriginal students in years 7-12 to make active choices toward realising their full potential in all aspects of their education, development, cultural identity and wellbeing. By the end of 2023 there were six school sites: 1. Glendale Technology High School, 2. Newcastle High School 3. Callaghan College - Waratah Campus 4. Callaghan College - Wallsend Campus 5. West Wallsend High School and 6. Swansea High School.

NSW AECG Youth Development Camps

The Aboriginal Education and Communities Directorate partners with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Incorporated (NSW AECG Inc.) to support cultural inclusion and imrpove academic achievement of Aboriginal students.

These camps inspire and motivate students to learn more about Aboriginal Language and Culture, STEM subjects, health and mental health, wellbeing and lifestyle, and physical activity including sports. The STEM camps in particular aim to encourage students to consider STEM as a future career or investigate the many diverse and interesting areas of science, technology, engineering and maths.

Image: STEM camp.

Junior AECG membership

Junior AECG membership is open to all Aboriginal students in Year 6 to 12 enrolled in school and is supported by the NSW AECG Inc.

Junior AECG membership provides opportunities for young Aboriginal students to develop leadership skills, communication skills, public speaking skills and provides a voice for young people to express their opinions and perspectives on issues relating to Aboriginal education.

To learn more about Junior AECG membership phone 02 9550 5666.

Additional programs supported by AOPD

Clontarf Foundation

The Clontarf Foundation provide mentoring, wellbeing and support services to up to 4,633 Aboriginal boys in NSW public schools. The Clontarf Foundation currently operate, in partnership with the department, across 59 NSW public school sites.

National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy

The National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) provide mentoring, wellbeing and support services to up to 1,460 Aboriginal girls in NSW public schools. NASCA currently operate, in partnership with the department, across 15 NSW public school sites.

Community Connectors

The Community Connector initiative is led by the Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisation (CAPO), and aims to increase the number of Aboriginal students completing their HSC, while maintaining their culture and identity. This initiative is delivered by Local Aboriginal Controlled Community Organisations across 7 NSW Principal Networks. This program aims to improve Aboriginal student learning outcomes, by supporting academic success, wellbeing and offering Aboriginal students and families support beyond the school gate.

Business Unit:

  • Aboriginal Education and Communities
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